Hanna Kolesnyk


The article is devoted to the analysis of Kazuo Ishiguro’s novel The Buried Giant (2015 р.). The topic
of memory is the central one for the work. It is pointed out that the author of the book concentrates his
attention on the nature of memory, its role in the lives of ordinary people and of the whole society. The trip
to the nearby village started by the main characters of the book turned out to be a quest in search of their
own lost past, memory and identities. At the same time, this is a quest towards Great Britain’s past with all
its victories and tragedies. The novel is based upon the real historical events, which infl uenced the formation
of the cultural myths important for British national identity. The most salient ones are the myth about King
Arthur and his knights, the myth about the dragon and the knight, the myth about wizard Merlin and about
Sir Gawain. The novel is full of intertextual connections with infl uential texts of English literature (such
as La Morte de Arthur, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight or Beowulf), with Celtic and Roman mythology
(Charon). The research has shown that using multiple metaphors and symbols the author offers an unusual
approach to the identifi cation constructs used for the formation of memory, both collective and individual.
The most important symbols are the she-dragon, the mist of forgetfulness, the chosen child, the monks
touched by ravens, the women in black rags, water in all its manifestations (river, stream, sea, rain, fog, mist),
boatmen and so on. The story is narrated from different points of view to stress the author’s position toward
the way any cultural memory is shaped. Still, not all main characters get an opportunity to present their
point of view. Therefore, it proves that the same is true about cultural memory, which in fact keeps only the
position of the majority. The memory of the minority may be quite different. Besides that, a lot of attention
is given to the role of trauma in the process of memory formation. Moreover, the article emphasizes that the
mechanisms of forgetting are of equal importance for the memory from the position of the author because
the ability to forgive is crucial for the future of the nation and of ordinary people. Though at the beginning
all the characters are appalled because of the fact that they were forced to forget their past, at the end of the
story some of them come to understanding that to forgive means to forget.
Keywords: Kazuo Ishiguro, memory, intertextuality, forgetfulness, quest.

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